Fashion / Interviews

Kris Davidson Gives Country Dance an Alternative Flair

With her jet black lipstick and electric blue hair, Kris Davidson doesn’t look like the typical patron at a country bar. You’d better check your assumptions at the door and don your cowboy boots because Kris (best known as @countrydancekris) is ready to teach you a thing or two. Dance has been a lifelong love affair of hers. “I started dancing when I was nine years old,” she says. “Initially, I started with East Coast swing and all sorts of studio dance. I did tap jazz, ballet, hip hop, really just everything. I continued that from middle school all the way through high school. I did a little in college and then I went to a country bar for my 21st birthday – my first time in a bar ever – and I just fell in love with it. I was taught how to country swing and when I moved back to San Diego, I met an amazing group of friends who taught me my first line dance. From there, I was absolutely hooked.” Her craft is her haven. “Dancing makes me just feel happy, honestly. I know that so many dancers say that, but truly it is very peaceful and music is so important to me. Being able to combine that with the dance that I’ve been doing for 13 years now is amazing.” Kris decided to begin posting dance videos online. “It started as a fun thing for me to be able to do. I wanted to post a video or two a month and see what happened, share with my friends what I was getting up to…now, it’s taken off.”

It was Kris’ interest in country swing and line dancing that turned TikTok’s head. To many, she exemplifies the “y’allternative” aesthetic, an intersection between country and alternative styles. But Kris isn’t following a trend – she’s just expressing herself in the way that she feels confident. Pursuing your best self will always supersede performative popularity. “I do identify with y’allternative. I think it’s the term that fits what I am the best, but I didn’t pick the y’allternative. I’ve always loved fun hair color and loud makeup, and it sort of just happened this way. When I started line dancing, I looked pretty typical. I had red hair and wore relatively light makeup. Then I went on this journey to try and find myself and where I was most comfortable dressing and hair and makeup and all of those things. It wasn’t that I chose to be y’allternative, it’s more so this is how I feel most comfortable dressing and going out and being seen. The label found me.” This mindset extends to her friends. Self-acceptance must take priority over peer pressure. “I think that I do my best to encourage everyone around me to dress and express themselves in the way that makes them the most comfortable and the most happy. To me, the most important thing is appearing in a way that will make me happy and not in a way that is more widely accepted or more typical for a country bar.” With that said, she’s grown accustomed to making an unintentional statement with her entrances. “It’s funny to walk into the bar and watch people’s reactions because if they don’t already know me, it’s kind of surprising to see someone who looks like me jump onto the floor and line dance and partner dance. It’s always so much fun to be able to talk to people and they tell me, ‘I didn’t think that this would be something you knew about.’ I love to be able to share my story with people.”

Anyone can dive into country dance. Kris emphasizes that it’s imperative to give yourself grace. Stumbles are to be expected. “We all have to start somewhere, so don’t be afraid of making yourself look silly on the floor. There are so many videos of mine where I have to cut out big portions because I’ll mess something up and then I’ll make a face at the camera and laugh with whoever’s behind the camera. It’s so normal to mess up the dance. What I post on my social media isn’t a 100% accurate representation of what I look like when I go dancing. All of my friends know I will mess up dances all the time and I’ll miss cues when I’m dancing with leads. It’s okay to mess up. You have to mess up to learn.” Social media can give us the false perception that anything less than perfection is failure, but Kris knows that’s not the case. “When I started dancing at nine years old, I had absolutely no rhythm. Absolutely none. It took years and years of training, practicing, and working at my craft to finally get to a point where I felt comfortable enough to post about it.”

Not every moment has to be captured and curated. Hobbies can simply be hobbies. “If you want to do it, you should do it to enjoy it and to have fun. Honestly, that is something that I struggle with as well. There are nights where I’m so concerned with the content that I want to get and the way my hair looks or the way my makeup looks. I sometimes forget that dancing should be fun and I should enjoy it and have a good time while I’m there. It doesn’t need to be all about social media and filming. I myself am practicing being more in the moment with the people around me and enjoying myself truly. And if there happens to be a video captured of it, amazing. All the more authentic and real. But it is very important to remember that it’s just line dancing.” Experiences are infinitely more priceless than a TikTok or reel. Audiences and likes can be fleeting, but nostalgia lasts forever. “While filming has helped me capture these memories and these amazing interactions with the people that I’m close to and the people I love dancing with, I’m working really hard at being more present with them and making memories instead of capturing photos and videos.” 

Kris plans to keep spreading the joy of dance and spotlighting her zeal for style. “I’m working on some projects and brand collaborations, so I will be able to expand more into the fashion industry, which is something that is so exciting to me. I have so much passion and so much love for the clothes that I wear and really just self-expression in general. Right now, my plan is to keep filming, keep learning, and keep trying.” Her support system means the world to her as her biggest cheerleaders. At each unexpected curve and dip, they’ve been right there to steady her and build her up. “People should remember to express gratitude for the people that are around them. I would not have made it this far on my journey without my best friends, Madi and Trevor. I’m so grateful for their love and for their support because there have been some really difficult moments on this journey for me. There have been so many doubts and so many fears. I would not be who I am or where I am today without them and I am so blessed to have these people in my life. More people should count their blessings in their circle and in the people that they have around them. Not many of my friends look like or express themselves the way that I do, but every crazy idea I’ve had, every different hair color, every makeup phase I’ve gone through, they have happily supported me from the sidelines and they have loved me through all of them.” A single gem cannot sparkle without the sun surrounding it.

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Kris Davidson Gives Country Dance an Alternative Flair. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kris Davidson.

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